Alan Stivell Robin Williamson Sue Richards Allison Hampton Various Artists
Derek Bell READ BIODerek Bell was the harper for The Chieftains from 1972 until his death in 2002.
Ancient Music for the Irish Harp Review
Carolan's Receipt: The Music
of Carolan, Volume 1 Review
When not otherwise engaged playing harp for Ireland's most popular traditional band, The Chieftains, Derek Bell put out some seminal collections of ancient Irish harp music. Ancient Music for the Irish Harp collects some airs preserved by Edward Bunting (1773-1843), the famed Irish tunemaster and archivist who in 1792 compiled sheet music for the traditional tunes played at a Belfast harp festival. The songs on this album were chosen from Bunting’s landmark book The Ancient Music of Ireland, first published in 1840.
With the release of Carolan's Receipt in 1975, Derek Bell produced one of the first albums to focus exclusively on the compositions of another legendary Irish tunemaster, blind harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). Bell plays each tune on the solo harp, with his Chieftains colleagues sitting in on some of the tracks. With Bell playing both wire- and gut-strung harps on this album, he creates the perfect opportunity to hear them side by side and appreciate the differences in sound between the two kinds. Tune selection is also first-rate; Bell includes the first tune O'Carolan composed, 'Sídh Beag agus Sídh Mór,' and his last, 'Carolan's Farewell to Music--plus the favorite Carolan pieces that are so central to the current traditional repertoire for harpers. A classic recording in every sense of the word.